The most interesting part of this fan community, and I would venture to guess it’s the same with every fan community – is the overall intensity of the bonding. Whether we’re talking about the bonding between fans, or the bond between fan and band (although I have to point out that I’m specifically referring to the FAN…not the band…I have little doubt that for most of us, they have zero recognition, much less feel that same bonding), I’ve always felt that the fan community in general intensifies the experience as a whole.
When I first found dd.com, I was shocked as to just how black and white everything was on the message board. You were either included or you were not. You were either well liked, or you were not. The same holds true today on virtually every message board I’ve visited. Where I was completely embraced on some boards, there were others where I went completely unnoticed, or in some cases, I was even disliked. We’ve discussed the anonymity of being online before and how for a lot of people, it somehow gives license to be as rude and cruel as they wish. Conversely it somehow works to accentuate or emphasize friendships when they form. Friendships are formed swiftly and strongly, and I suppose enemies are formed in virtually the same way. The real question, and one I’m not going to try to answer in the blog today – is why that really happens. I’ve never formed friends or enemies in real life nearly as quickly as I have online on a message board, have you?
The Daily Duranie blog has tried very hard to focus on the fan experience. Amanda and I have always held that if you’re looking for Duran news – there are plenty of places to find it online, and we never wanted to reinvent the wheel or steal anyone’s thunder. Our “niche”, so to speak, is the fan. When we first began to blog, I don’t think Amanda or I really knew where the blog would head – we just wanted to find our special space in the world, for better or worse. Over time though, we’ve seen one common thread amongst Duran fans – and that is by and large – everyone wants to feel included, find friends, and enjoy talking about this little band we’ve heard some things about. What has amazed me over the past year is that for all the 30 some odd years the band has been together, there are still tons of people out there amongst us that just haven’t gotten that involved in the community. I just read a post today from someone who said they never go with friends to a show and that they haven’t met anyone. I’m here to tell you that going to a show is fantastic in and of itself, but having friends to share that with makes all the difference. If you loved Duran before, being able to gush over the show with a friend or more is huge. Enormous!
Of course, there are always going to be people that prefer the solo experience. I can’t find fault with that, and I think it’s probably beyond the scope of the blog to delve too deeply into why that may be. (my major was American Studies, not Psychology – and I sort of suspect that may have a little something more to do with this than pop culture or sociology!) I did have one comment from someone who didn’t mind sitting alone at all, primarily because they were in the first row. I smiled at that – because let me tell you – had *I* been in the front row on Friday, I think I would have been just fine with that too. Who here would not have been?!? Sure, I’d rather be with my friends…in the front row….but solo would work in that case. I’d have braved it out just fine! I suppose we all have our limits or standards. Mine is in the front row!
What about that false sense of friendship? Let me explain myself a bit – what about those friends who you may be at a show with that disappear after the show without a trace, and you only hear much later that they were at a large gathering where the band happened to show? What about those friends that are friends online but when it comes to push and shove are nowhere to be seen? They exist in real life just as well as online or in the fan community…so I don’t think it’s unique to Duran Duran…but how do they play in? For me, I think it’s been doubly hurtful to see that I’ve been deceived. I’ve gone from the high of a show, to the low of seeing that I’ve been completely left out, and there’s not much that annoys me more than that. I know I’m not alone.
I think that at the end of the day, everyone wants to be included and they want that fan experience, and that’s where Daily Duranie is headed. If we can bring fans together to be friends, then that’s what we’ll do.